OPINION

Picking up the pieces

This year could not have ended in a more tragic way… In just a few fractions of a second, it was revealed how weak and helpless we all are in the face of nature. In just a few hours, joy was transformed into bitter sorrow… In the areas affected by the unbelievable tragedy, the natives are now picking up the pieces of their lives; they are mourning their losses – the thousands of youngsters who were swept away in a crashing tidal wave (the British press has spoken of an entire generation being lost). Now and again their gazes meet the voracious television cameras – defeated gazes expressing the catastrophe they have witnessed, their need for help and their incomprehension at how such an earthly paradise could be transformed into a wretched swamp of mud, corpses and ruins. It is often said that when nature becomes ruthless, man is often to blame. And indeed, it was the urbanization of massive tracts of land for tourist development – without any consideration for the coastland and for coral-rich areas – that was to blame in destabilizing the regions devastated by the tsunami… Faced with such shocking developments, it is impossible for us to review any other events of the past year… All other concerns are now secondary to a sense of worldwide solidarity as one of the largest-ever aid operations gets under way…